Yennadon Cross: a wayside cross 340m south of Peekhill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009184

Date first listed: 14-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Yennadon Cross: a wayside cross 340m south of Peekhill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 54537 69436

Reasons for Designation

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Yennadon Cross, although damaged, is a striking example of a wayside cross, sited in a conspicuous and significant position. The detail of its design, especially the rebate around the edges of the west and east faces, is highly unusual on Dartmoor crosses. Although probably not in its original position, it is a good candidate for identification with the `Yanedonecrosse' recorded in AD 1280, though its neat appearance may suggest a later medieval date for it. It is also a possible candidate for a cross at "little Yanadon" mentioned in about 1750 when it was described as being on the boundary between the stannaries (tinworking districts) of Plympton and Tavistock.


The monument includes a late medieval wayside cross of relatively fine-grained granite, set on rough ground on the east side of a crossroads where minor but ancient roads join the B3212 road from Yelverton to Princetown. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, was erected here in 1974 having been moved from a gateway in a hedge one kilometre to the west, opposite Mid Tors, and bordering the east side of the road leading from Dousland to Walkhampton, where it was in use upsidedown as a gatepost, and where it had first been recorded in about 1900. The cross is a single piece of granite, forming a shaft and head, with arms aligned due north-south, though the southern arm is broken off. No socket stone is visible. The total height of the cross is 1.17m. The shaft is very neat and well-dressed, and is more or less rectangular in section, measuring 0.26m by 0.23m. A rebate, about 35mm wide, extends all round the edge of the west and east faces of the shaft as well as the top and bottom of the arms and the vertical faces of the head of the cross. The effect of this has been to create a shallow cross in relief, raised about 15mm, on both the west and east faces. Between the arms there is a small incised cross on both the west and east faces. At the top and bottom of the western incised cross there is a horizontal serifed `foot', 20mm wide. The eastern incised cross only has a serif, 30mm wide, at the top. The western cross measures 140mm vertically by 120mm horizontally, the cut being 10mm wide and 5mm deep. The eastern cross measures 170mm vertically by 140mm horizontally, the cut being a maximum of 20mm wide and 10mm deep. The northern arm of the cross is very stumpy, extending only a maximum of 80mm from the shaft. It is 190mm deep. These are likely to be more or less its original measurements, but if it is broken off then the break is very old. The head of the cross extends a maximum of 0.16m above the arms. Its top surface slopes to the east and may have been broken off. The cross bears evidence of its use as a gatepost - there is a piece of iron set into the west side of the shaft about 80mm above ground surface, and another about 150mm up the southern face of the shaft. Both were probably gate hangings. On the north side of the shaft a crevice running up the centre of the shaft for about 120mm from the ground surface has been plugged with cement. Despite some disturbance, the monument is a fine specimen of a wayside cross. Although probably not in its original position, it is one of several candidates for forming part of `Yanedonecrosse' which was mentioned in a deed of AD 1280.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24817

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing